Welcome to the Carrying Matters website.

Rosie is passionate about helping parents and carers to carry their children; carrying matters in so many ways. The positive effects of close and loving contact are enormous, and investment early on in family life is well worth it. Carrying is connection; it matters to children, their carers, and society. Here you can find everything you need to know about how to carry your baby safely and well, why babywearing is so normal and useful, how to choose a baby carrier, and help for all sorts of circumstances.

carrying children matters

The simple act of connecting with a small person through the medium of loving touch has powerful and long-lasting effects on both child and carer. Babies need to be held close to encourage normal physiological and psychological development, especially in the early months.

Children thrive when they are carried, resilience builds and families flourish when the needs of all its members are met. Carrying is connection; carrying matters!

Read more about why carrying matters here.

carry me daddy

Keeping babies safe in any kind of baby sling or baby carrier is of paramount importance. The first most vital issue is to ensure that baby’s airway is open and unobstructed, with chin off the chest and the ribcage well supported. Babies’ temperatures should be considered too; they are surprisingly warm, and overheating can cause problems. Read more about sling safety here.


beco gemini

Secure attachment to other people is vital to human health and wellness; we thrive on relationship, on belonging. Such healthy attachments are the bedrock to future positive mental health and enjoyable relationships. However, 40% of children lack secure attachments, and are significantly disadvantaged, especially those growing up in poverty, or with a high number of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Encouraging carers to spend more time in close physical contact with their children, is one way to improve the building of positive bonds that last a lifetime.

Read more about the importance of building secure attachments here, and how carrying children in slings can build the resilience they need to thrive despite adversity.

when the time comes to stop carrying

About Rosie

“I am a mum of 2, a family doctor in the UK (a GP), and a passionate advocate of building secure attachment relationships between children and their carers, due to the long lasting effects this has on future health. I believe that carrying children plays a large part in building such bonds, be it in arms or in a sling. With Carrying Matters, I focus on providing accessible information and education about this for parents and the professionals who support them. Sling and carrier use is not a new concept at all; but our Westernised society has lost the communal sharing of knowledge. We are no longer surrounded by a community of people who can help us get to grips with parenthood and share the load, so we need support in newer and more structured ways. This is what I do; empower people to keep their children close in a safe and positive way.”

Her book, “Why Babywearing Matters”, was published by Pinter and Martin in May 2016. It was translated into Polish “Dlaczego noszenie ma znaczenie?” by Nicminiewisi and Lenny Lamb in May 2018.  She has written for a wide range of publications, including Juno Magazine, and has a regular freelance blogging role for Boba (links can be found in the Blog section).

She founded the Sling Pages, an independent website listing all the known sling professional resources in the UK and Eire.

She is a practising GP in the UK with a particular interest in holistic medicine as well as children and women’s health and medical ethics. She began her career in hospital medicine but switched to general practice because of its flexibility with family life and the opportunities it presents to be more closely involved with communities, from cradle to grave. She has two children of her own, who have both been carried happily, and a husband who works alongside her at their local Sheffield premises. Rosie founded the Sheffield Sling Surgery and Library in 2013 and has supported thousands of parents across the South Yorkshire region, helped by a volunteer team of fantastic, committed parents who have found carrying their own children to be life-changing. They all want to help their fellow parents to discover this for themselves!


Rosie developed the “Fourth Trimester” sling meet model with her colleague Lindsay Snow, focusing on the needs of parents with bumps to four months. Families often struggle to deal with the biological needs of their new baby within the confined structures and expectations of modern society, which can be damaging to the building of secure attachments.

The needs of baby and caregivers are both important, as is the mental health and happiness of the whole family. Human beings were not designed to live in small isolated units but in supportive social groupings.

Holding babies close (in arms or in a soft sling) can be a very useful tool for families struggling with mental health disorders, pre, peri or postnatally. The close contact and the soft touch has biochemical hormonal effects that can help to reduce anxiety, improve feelings of wellbeing and connection, as well as lifting the mood. Read more about this here.

You can find your local sling library or sling meet by searching the Sling Pages resource, get in touch with them!

Using a sling (carrier) helps parents to keep their child as close as their biology needs, while also being able to function as adults in a demanding and inflexible world.


rosie knowles

Rosie trains carrying advocates and sling/carrier peer supporters through the Born to Carry initiative, running courses in Sheffield and nearby. She has trained health care professionals, sling librarians, fitness course leaders and interested parents.

She lectures at conferences and gatherings around the UK and Europe about a range of topics, all related to early years parenting and how slings and carriers can make a huge difference to babies, their carers and to society.

“I’d highly recommend any enthusiast to attend this course. I found it thoroughly enjoyable and look forward to being able to use this new knowledge to help more parents discover the benefits of babywearing, as I have.”

“Rosie is a wonderful teacher, very clear and good at explaining. I felt she was well educated in her field and able to answer any question thrown at her. Also very friendly which made me feel comfortable and relaxed in a learning environment and confident to ask questions.”

Get in touch with her here.


3 days ago

Carrying Matters - Dr Rosie Knowles

This half day course will cover the essentials of how to keep a baby safe in a baby carrier during activities such as dance or fitness. It will explore the specific risks and issues of using a sling (to the baby and the postnatal mother) with these more strenuous activities.

You will learn how to recognise and deal with common issues, and how to work with parents who need more support before they can continue with the class.

Please note this half day class is NOT a peer supporter course and will not equip you to support parents with babywearing with a range of slings, it is the basic minimum to ensure the safety of babies. You will receive a simple certificate of attendance on this course. It will not entitle you to insurance as a babywearing peer supporter.


If you wish to have a wider range of skills, please book a Carrying Advocacy and Peer Supporter Course (www.bit.ly/CAPScourse)

This course is held at The Snug, 71 Leadmill Road, Sheffield, S1 4SE. There is parking in various carparks nearby and the station/interchange and bus stations are nearby.

Space for 10-12 people, £45 per person, booking link in the ticket section, also here

bit.ly/slingfitnesssafety

Please note that due to the complexities of bringing together different fields of expertise I can only offer this class to those who already have a qualification in postnatal fitness, and it will depend on the type of class you are offering. If you want to discuss whether your qualification is suitable for entry on this course or if your proposed class would be suitable, please email me. My thoughts on fitness/dance classes while babywearing can be read here www.carryingmatters.co.uk/slings-and-exercise/
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3 days ago

Carrying Matters - Dr Rosie Knowles

The Carrying Advocacy and Peer Supporter Course aims to enable people who work with parents to give robust, safe advice about babywearing and infuse the people they meet with excitement and confidence about carriying and using a sling. It is not a consultancy course (therefore does not cover advanced techniques such as back carrying or complex woven wrap techniques), but is designed to equip trainees with the tools they need to be able to support the parents they meet. It covers topics such as:
the benefits of babywearing
how to talk to people about the importance of carrying
the physiological principles of baby positioning to protect airway, spine and hips
demonstrating and discussing the safe use of slings in many circumstances (eg feeding)
confidence with the most common types of sling
practical demonstrating skills
troubleshooting common difficulties
assessing boundaries and responsibilities
babywearing in a historical/sociopolitical context

It would suit those planning to or currently running sling libraries or sling meets, doulas, midwives, BabyCalm practitioners, antenatal/postnatal teachers etc, as well as parents who want to feel more equipped to share their love of slings.

This CAPs course is held at The Snug, 71 Leadmill Road, Sheffield, S1 4SE. There is parking in various carparks nearby and the station/interchange and bus stations are nearby.

Space for 10 people, £90 per person, booking link in the ticket section, also here
www.bit.ly/CAPScourse
The ticket price includes a copy of the Why Babywearing Matters book.

We will send you the pre-course forms on receipt of your booking.

Babies in arms are welcome. Mobile toddlers can impact on learning throughout the day, so please consider carefully if child care on the day may be better; please email me if you need to discuss, we will do our best to accommodate. (rosie@sheffieldslingsurgery.co.uk)

More information about the course can be read here www.carryingmatters.co.uk/peer-supporter-training/

If you are planning to begin a fitness or dance class involving slings, please note that due to the complexities of bringing together different fields of expertise I can only offer babywearing training to those who already have a qualification in postnatal fitness, and it will depend on the type of class you are offering. If you want to discuss whether your qualification is suitable for entry on this course or if your proposed class would be suitable, please email me. My thoughts on fitness/dance classes while babywearing can be read here www.carryingmatters.co.uk/slings-and-exercise/
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This is fascinating! Traditional and clearly confident and expert babywearing demo in Chile with a big baby and a toddler - these cloths are very strong and very textured, very different from the smoother long woven wraps which will not work the same way. I really enjoyed watching this! This is an aguayo cloth used for many other things not just carrying babies.

Edit- translation below and in comments thank you Danielle! It adds a whole extra dimension. Worth a read if you feel anxious about baby falling out. Baby won't fall out, this is a skill this community is very familiar with.

Translation of the dialogue:

Demonstrator - I’m going to explain how to use an aguayo. This is how we carry a small baby, this is how the baby feels most comfortable. When we have a newborn baby, this is how we carry a newborn. Like this. (Puts baby on to her back.)
The baby is comfortable there. Back there he is calm, comfortable and nothing is bothering him. There are various different ways of carrying. (moves cloth across her back) You make a knot here. Like this. You can also breastfeed. You bring him forward like this (brings baby forward) And one can peacefully breastfeed the baby. The mother is calm and the baby is comfortable. He’s not at all bothered and is just really calm.
Man off camera – Was it difficult to get used to?
Woman – Yes it was difficult, because you often are afraid of dropping them.
Man – OK
Woman – And doing the knots, because they can slip and come undone. You have to practise. The baby finds it easy!
Man – Did someone else teach you how?
Demonstrator – For me it was my mother in law who taught me. Because I didn’t know. I didn’t know either, so my mother in law taught me.
There are also other ways of carrying for bigger babies. They can be carried from standing.
(another woman brings in a toddler and takes the baby away)
For example this way of carrying. This method is used a lot in Bolivia. And not only for carrying children, people carry all sorts of things, in Bolivia it’s often live animals too. So this is how you carry with this method. So, bigger babies are carried like this – (puts toddler on her back using the cloth)
(Noises of approval and laughter from the audience off camera)
You can see she’s comfy, and not at all scared
Man – I can see! When she’s up there she doesn’t move
Demonstrator – no she doesn’t move for anything or anyone!
Woman off camera – does she weigh a lot like that?
Demonstrator – No she’s not heavy. As you can see the aguayo is spread from the knot and I don’t feel any weight at all. It’s like a cape and I don’t feel her weight at all, it’s very comfortable.
Man off camera - How would you say it compares with a mai tai? Are they similar?
Demonstrator – I’m more familiar with this style of carrying.
Man – so would you say they’re the same
Demonstrator – No, I much prefer this style!
(laughter and applause off camera)
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You can often tell who's been a carried child.... Spot the Aroha bag. One of my favourite totes as it's so strong and so distinctive. Full of water bottles for the hot and sticky kids after bouldering at Fontainebleau today. Little girl had a sore toe. Arms to the rescue. Toe was magically better within moments 😂 Spot the boy too. He's found a rock.
#carryingmatters #carryingisnormal #inarmscarrying #piggyback #arohatextiles
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